Several months ago I wrote a post about why I don’t ever take bonuses or any agent incentives because of my personal feeling that they are unethical: Agent Bonuses and Incentives: Buyers Beware!
Today, on the front page of The Charlotte Observer, there was an article: Homebuyers in the dark? NC rules may leave customers unaware of bonuses received by their agents’.
The most chilling statement was the first paragraph: ” N.C. regulations leave potential homebuyers vulnerable to having their search guided by their real estate agent’s financial interests.” The article then goes on to discuss a specific real estate firm’s relationships with builders and the million’s of dollars in bonuses they received in exchange for finding the buyers their homes. The focus of this article was that the buyers were not told about the bonuses and whether the NC Real Estate Commission should require written disclosure of all real estate agent incentives and bonuses to every buyer rather than the current verbal requirement.
As I did in my previous post, I would like to explain that I passionately disapprove of any kind of financial incentives for buyer’s agents. As a Realtor, I think that we should show buyers any and all properties that meet their search parameters without regard for compensation. It would simply be wrong not to show a buyer a property because the commission was too low or to choose to show a buyer a property because there is an agent bonus. When I have come across these kinds of situations my buyers have always offered to pay me a reasonable amount for my services. Or, if I am offered a bonus, I give all bonuses offered to me directly to the buyer at the closing table. This can be done legally as long it is on the HUD closing statement and the lender is aware of and approves it. Usually, this can be done by putting the bonus towards a buyer’s closing costs or upgrades.
Important Update! Real Estate Agents are now required to disclose any bonuses IN WRITING before you make an offer.